According to the Association of American Railroads, freight trains are four times more fuel efficient than trucks, with 75% fewer carbon emissions for the same distance (it has a handy calculator here, if you want to plug in a few actual journeys). The video above shows off some new diesel locomotives that General Electric says are particularly efficient, using “11% less fuel than the existing locomotive average in North America.”
The creators of a self-sailing, data-collecting catamaran called Robotboat plan to collect data for scientists while making money by completing missions for offshore energy companies.
Forty years from now, how much will energy cost? What will happen with the climate? Most importantly, will you be richer?
The new SimCity will let you take control of a city’s environmental destiny:
"You start your city without any money, and you could exploit the coal seams underneath the city and start digging coal out of the ground and make a city that’s pretty filthy, one that’s built on burning coal for power, might have a lot of coal-sustained industries around it and would make me a ton of money as a player. In the long term that would sort of blight the prospects of the city." In that coal-dependent city, there would be little natural beauty and excessive air and ground pollution, not to mention citizens suffering from coal-related health problems.
Alternatively, players could opt for other sources of energy—gas-fired power plants, solar panels, wind turbines, or nuclear power. All of these sources have their drawbacks. Solar panels, for example, take up a lot of space and produce less power for the money when compared to coal…
Triad: An Energy Monitoring Device You Might Actually Use
A truck that travels 93,000 miles would save 528 gallons of diesel fuel and five tons of CO2.
The Best Thing About Plant-Based, Compostable Cups: You’re Not Drinking Oil
Energy efficient home improvements cost a lot up front, but eventually pay themselves off. Exactly how long does it take? Consult this handy chart.
Hacking the Internet!
What do you need to get online in rural Africa?
Find out from Boukary Konaté, from Rising Voices grantee project Segou Village Connection.
The carbon-neutral economy is a dream of environmentalists everywhere—and one that may be critical to preventing climate change from reaching a nasty tipping point. Now the European Climate Foundation is trying to make it happen in Europe.
Is this possible?
Above: Desertec, a solar pipeline spanning from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe, is already in the works.
(Inhale deeeeeeply) Can you smell that fresh, clean coal air?
Today, Peabody Energy—the largest private coal company in the world—launched Coal Cares, a website giving away free, Justin Bieber-themed inhalers to asthmatic children and providing other, pro-coal info to kids everywhere. Yes, coal gives people asthma, but it’s still the “safest energy out there.” There are word searches, a Kidz Koal Korner, and a promise that “for every 1,000 inhaler actuators donated via Coal Cares™, Peabody will make a $500 donation towards the cost of one lung-replacement therapy.” It’s also totally fake.
More info on the Hoax of the Day at the click.
A section of the new Energy Agenda Infographic from the White House blog. Click through to see the graphic in full and read the President’s remarks from Friday’s trip to a factory in Indiana highlighted as an example of economic recovery.
Bonus! Some sage advice offered from“check it out below, or download it, print it, send it to your family, or hang it on your wall to add a splash of color.” Economic recovery news AND decorating tips all in one spot! Who could ask for anything more?
It’s a horrible paradox that bad things are generally cheaper: Like Big Macs. Or H&M. Top of this list, of course, is coal power, which is really quite horrible for the planet but is also deliciously cheap to produce. We are, if nothing else, a bottom-line driven society. Besides the rarefied few of us who are willing to drop more money on organic food and clean power just because it’s the right thing to do, most people—out of necessity—are going to gravitate toward the cheapest and easiest option. Coal power is so cheap, it’s what the power company supplies without you asking. Sign me up! But now, according to new predictions from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, solar power is going to be the wallet-friendly option as soon as 2013.
Continue reading to find out what happens when solar power is as cheap as coal.
Weeeeeell, well well. What do we have here? Looks like somebody’s feeling a liiiiiiiiittle salty. Okay, we can’t be too smug about this. But seriously—Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil dudes in the world, just announced they’re going to spend $100 billion on renewable energy.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, may not be panicking quite yet about its ever-declining oil supply—but the country is certainly concerned. Consider: in February, a Wikileaks document revealed that Saudi Arabia might be overstating its oil reserves by 300 billion barrels, and the country recently asked for a slice of the UN’s $100 billion climate change fund to help diversify to other energy sources (a galling request from such a wealthy country so dependent on other people not diversifying to other energy sources). And now the kingdom has announced that it plans to spend $100 billion on solar, nuclear, and other renewable energy sources. They haven’t announced over what time period they will spend it, but that’s a lot of cash. Private investments in Chinese renewable energy projects equalled $54.4 billion last year, which was the highest of any country.
"Fuel supply is one of the major challenges facing the power sector and the nation," Saleh Al-Awaji, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister for electricity at the Ministry of Water, said at a recent conference in Abu Dhabi (hat tip: Bloomberg). “The policy is to work intensely on saving energy and making sure every barrel of oil that can be saved is, and is made available for export.”
That means Saudi Arabia wants to wean itself off oil but keep the rest of us hooked (unless it has plans to become the world’s largest solar-panel exporter, too). The country still has a long way to go in reducing its reliance on oil—Saudi Arabia consumes 2.4 million barrels a day, and is expected to need at least 8.3 million barrels by 2028 if no action is taken. But the U.S. consumes a staggering 18.8 million barrels daily, making it the most oil-hungry nation in the world. A large portion of our oil comes from Saudi Arabia, which exports nearly 9 million barrels each day.
Saudi Arabia does, at least, have an advantage in the solar power arena: plentiful sun. In September, the kingdom will complete a 3.5 MW solar array—the largest solar power plant in the country. That’s not very large considering that the largest solar plants in the world produce nearly 100 MW of power, but it’s a much-needed start for a country that has grown in proportion to its oil wealth.
How Much Energy Do We Use While Watching the Super Bowl?
GE mashed up statistics from Nielsen, the Energy Information Administration, ABS Alaskan, and the U.S. Census to figure out that the energy used to power home televisions watching the Super Bowl (over 158.5 million TVs) could power all the homes in Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and Dallas for 10 hours. We’re not suggesting you turn off the game, but it is something to think about as you bask in the glow of your big screen.
As for the game itself? Renewable energy credits are offsetting power use at many NFL venues, and the recently implemented Super Grow XLV program (a partnership between the Texas Trees Foundation and the Texas Forest Service) planted over 6,500 trees in 12 north Texas communities, marking the biggest tree-planting effort in Super Bowl history. Cowboy Stadium (the site of this year’s game) also has targets to cut solid waste by 25%, water consumption by 1 million gallons, and energy use by 20% each year. Not a bad start.